International Custody Battles

International Custody Battles Family Law Attorney

International Custody Battles and Interstate Custody Battles

There are several factors that may be evaluated in international custody disputes. Determining which country has jurisdiction is a question in an international custody battle. If a Florida court has made an initial custody determination, it has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over the determination until one of the following occurs:

  • Florida determines that the child or the child and one parent do not have a significant connection with Florida;
  • The evidence regarding the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships are no longer in Florida; or
  • The court of another state determines that the child, the child’s parents, and any person acting as a parent do not presently reside in Florida.

A key question in an international custody dispute is: whether a custody order from another state must be modified? The general rule regarding where the order should be modified is: “Does either the child, children, or one parent still reside in the state where the original order was made?”

Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act

In international custody issues as well as interstate custody issues, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJEA) was enacted to deal with the specific question of where an action for custody should be heard. The primary functions of the UCCJEA are to:

  • To promote cooperation between states to determine which state is the most appropriate state to make decisions affecting a child;
  • Ensure that international custody litigation or interstate custody litigation takes place in the state that has the closest connection to the child and where their interests are best served (care, education, etc.);
  • Avoid conflicting orders in different states;
  • To deter international custody abductions or to prevent the removal of children from one state to another in order to obtain custody awards;
  • To avoid re-litigating custody decisions of other states or increase international custody litigation;
  • To facilitate enforcement of international custody orders or orders of other states; and,
  • To promote and expand the exchange of information and other forms of mutual assistance between the courts.

In some international custody disputes or interstate custody disputes, a state may decline to hear a matter, without contacting another state, if it is clear that the matter has been brought in the wrong state. Alternatively, if an action for custody has been served in the wrong state, a motion to quash, will most likely be necessary.

Emergency Custody Determination

A Florida court may make temporary emergency custody orders if a child is present in Florida even it involves international custody and has been abandoned or it is necessary to protect the child from mistreatment or abuse. A Florida court will most likely communicate with the court of another state if there are known international custody proceedings or interstate custody proceedings in an effort to resolve the emergency, protect the parties’ and child’s safety and determine the duration for the temporary order.

To learn more about the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJEA), international custody rights and out of state custody proceedings or if you need to move to a distant city or another state with a former spouse’s child, contact Filler Rodriguez, LLP, which has represented numerous clients in dealing with out of state or international custody issues. Our family lawyers provide you with the support necessary to ensure that you are able develop a proper strategy and understanding of the rights and responsibilities inherent in international custody determination and protect your interests to ensure that the interests of the child(ren) are analyzed.